OPTIMIZING STUDENT RECRUITING WITH CRM
PROVEN BEST PRACTICES FOR A COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary .......... 1
Recruiting Challenges in the 21st Century .......... 2
Critical Recruiting Capabilities for the Next Generation .......... 3
CRM’s Role in Recruiting Success .......... 6
Case in Point: Minnesota Online .......... 7
Case in Point: Victoria University .......... 8
Case in Point: Imperial College London .......... 9
Case in Point: University of Houston .......... 11
Optimized Outcomes for Schools and Students .......... 12
About RightNow .......... 14
With thousands of institutions competing for an applicant pool that is projected to decline
in the coming years, student recruiting is a critical discipline—especially in light of current
economic conditions. For colleges and universities to survive and thrive, they must cater
to the changing needs of today’s students. That means being highly effective and highly
efficient across the entire student acquisition lifecycle, from marketing and first contact
through acceptance and registration.
Technology obviously plays a key role in this lifecycle, especially since email and the web
are the primary communication channels for schools and prospective students. Colleges and
universities must be able to:
· Deliver the right message to the right target prospective student (or group of
prospective students) at the right time via all communication channels
· Give prospective students easy access to the information they want and need via
whichever communication channel they prefer
· Track each prospective student’s individual process through the end-to-end recruiting
· Quickly discover and respond to recruiting issues as they arise
· Provide a highly consistent personalized experience across all communication
· Leverage the social web in the recruiting process
· Readily determine which recruiting investments are yielding results and adjust
· Create an inviting environment for prospective students that will minimize “the
These capabilities align directly with those provided by advanced CRM solutions. In fact,
many institutions of higher education successfully use CRM technology to meet and exceed
their numerical, quality, and diversity recruitment goals.
This white paper outlines how CRM technology is being applied to the full range of
recruiting challenges faced by today’s colleges and universities. Based on the real-world
experiences of institutions that have achieved quantifiable results, it offers proven best
practices for operating in an increasingly competitive marketplace. By adopting these best
practices, recruitment managers can optimize their performance within their existing budget
and staffing constraints.
RECRUITING CHALLENGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Institutions of higher learning face significant challenges as they seek to achieve both
enrollment goals and institutional standards in the coming years. Several factors contribute
to this challenging environment:
Declining Post-Secondary Population
As the “echo” of the Baby Boom fades, the number of high school graduates is projected
to decline after 2009. Colleges and universities will be competing for a smaller number of
qualified prospective students.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Erosion of the “Stick-and-Stay” Model
A variety of social and market forces are eroding the traditional model of the student who
enrolls at a school, lives on-campus, studies full-time, and completes a course of study
within a fixed time-frame. Instead, schools must be prepared to more effectively recruit
students who have already earned some credits elsewhere, want to study part-time, of
different ages, and/or will be distance learners.
A Shift in Global Recruiting
At one time, colleges and universities could count on an influx of students from
abroad. Tighter controls on immigration into the U.S. limit this influx. At the same
time, institutions in other countries are aggressively pursuing American students. The
combination of these two phenomena is further intensifying competition for prospective
A Culture of Value and Choice
In a tight economy where education costs represent a proportionally greater investment
of family wealth, prospective students look for assurances about their ultimate return on
that investment. Recruiters must be able to respond to a diverse range of questions about
academic programs, financial aid, student life, career placement results, and other decision
The Arrival of the “Digital Native”
The new generation of prospective students has grown up with digital technology—
socializes; researches on the web; communicates via instant messaging, text, and social
media; and expects prompt responses to emails and inquiries. This adds tremendous
pressure on colleges and universities to more effectively leverage digital communication
channels in the context of their recruiting efforts.
Few institutions are in a position to respond to recruiting challenges by dramatically
increasing either staff or capital IT spending. They must become significantly more efficient
in the way they satisfy the needs of prospective students and their families, as well as track
their progress through the recruiting lifecycle.
Simply put, institutions of higher learning can no longer afford to proceed with business
as usual when it comes to recruiting students. Failure to adapt to emerging market
conditions will result in a reduction in enrollments or a reduction in standards. Neither
of these outcomes is acceptable. To avoid them, recruiting managers must proactively
pursue strategies that enable more effective engagement with prospective students who are
increasingly selective and who increasingly favor online communications.
CRITICAL RECRUITING CAPABILITIES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Given the increasingly intense level of competition for students, higher learning institutions
face three basic alternatives. They can allow enrollment to dwindle over time. They can
lower their standards for admission. Or they can significantly re-engineer their recruiting
The first two alternatives are obviously problematic. Dwindling enrollment will mean
dwindling revenue, which will obviously have significant adverse impact on the institution.
The lowering of standards can also have adverse impact by compromising both the quality
of the student experience and eroding the value of a school’s brand.
In fact, schools that garner a lower number of applicants—and wind-up admitting a larger
percentage of those applicants—will be seen as less selective. This can seriously undermine
the institution’s brand and trigger a vicious cycle by further reducing applications from
The only viable course of action for any institution seeking to maintain enrollment, revenue,
brand, and/or quality of student experience is to re-engineer its recruiting operations.
Colleges and universities that do this effectively can maintain or even increase their pool of
qualified applicants, fulfilling all of their recruiting objectives. And, as the examples below
demonstrate, such re-engineering efforts can yield quantifiable results for a diverse range of
Several capabilities have proven to be particularly critical for successfully recruiting the
current generation of post-secondary prospective students.
Deliver the Right Message to the Right Prospective Student (or Group of
Prospective Students) at the Right Time via All Communication Channels
Today’s institutions of higher learning must be more proactive about reaching various types
of prospective students with well-targeted communications. They must also be more adept
at using the full range of communication channels available to them—including the web,
email, chat, text messaging, social web, and automated voice. So rather than continuing to
rely on conventional print media, smart recruiting managers leverage online channels to
manage relationships from first contact through enrollment and registration. Additionally, a
consolidated approach to managing and capturing incoming communication channels with
outgoing channels is a must. Today’s student expects to get the same level of service and
information whether the communication is received proactively or if the communication is
instigated by the student via phone, chat, email, mail, social web, etc.
Give Prospective Students Easy Access to the Information They Want and Need
via Whichever Communication Channel They Prefer
Prospective students—including those who have already applied and those who have been
admitted—often have questions. Institutions that answer these questions quickly, clearly,
and accurately are more likely to keep a greater number of prospects moving through the
recruiting lifecycle. Those that can’t will lose prospective students, especially those whose
personal qualifications allow them to be more selective about which institutions they deal
Colleges and universities can no longer afford to keep callers on hold, take three days to
respond to emails, or force website visitors to hunt around to get the answers to simple
questions. Instead, they must be able to respond to any prospective students question via
their communication channel of choice—regardless of what channel that happens to be or
what channel they contacted you through previously. And with more channels of choice it
becomes even more imperative to have a knowledge foundation to ensure consistency of the
information being delivered.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a more inviting environment for the prospective student.
This will eliminate “the chase” many institutions experience today, as well as set a solid
foundation for transition into the next stage of the student lifecycle.
Track Each Prospective Student’s Individual Process Through the End-to-End
To effectively communicate with a prospective student, it’s essential to know exactly where
they are in the recruiting process. Has a prospect visited the campus but not yet applied?
Which prospective student’s applications are still only partially complete as the deadline
for submission approaches? Are there highly qualified prospective students with multiple
outstanding issues awaiting resolution who might appreciate a phone call? Recruiting
teams that have instant visibility into these types of situations and others can communicate
Quickly Discover and Respond to Recruiting Issues as They Arise
In addition to being able to respond to the needs of individual prospective students and
groups of prospective students, recruiters must be able to quickly detect and address
any potential problems in the process. Are prospective students suddenly asking a lot of
questions about a particular financial aid program? If so, recruiters may have to become
proactive about distributing information regarding that program—since such an influx may
indicate that many other prospective students have the same question. Are email response
times stretching from less than 24 hours to more than 48? If so, it may be necessary to
improve automation or add staff. But these issues can only be successfully addressed if
they can be pinpointed quickly and reliably. With powerful, real-time analytics and easy to
configure rules and workflow, institutions can pinpoint issues early and take action.
Provide a Highly Consistent, Personalized Experience Across All
Anyone contemplating a major investment hopes for a reasonable level of service from any
potential recipient of that investment. So it’s natural for prospective students (and their
parents) to expect personalized service from institutions—especially since most prospective
students consider the level of service they receive during the recruitment process as a good
indicator of how they will be treated after they enroll.
Prospective student’s expectations are raised every day by their interactions with online
retailers, banks, and other companies that deliver exceptional levels of service via phone, the
web, and email. Schools competing for these prospective students must meet or exceed these
expectations in order to drive up applications among qualified candidates.
Leverage the Social Web in the Recruiting Process
A personalized experience carries across into the social web in the recruiting process. Many
prospects use sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter as channels for daily
communications as well as for research—so a presence on these sites eases communication
and helps eliminate the chase. Prospective students form and express their opinions about
you in the cloud so it is important for recruiting teams to incorporate these sites into their
overall strategy. Such presence also extends your physical brand and identity in online
The Ability to Readily Determine Which Recruiting Investments are Yielding
Results and Which Ones Are Not
No recruiting team can afford to waste money on campaigns, web content, or staffing
strategies that are not effective. It is essential that they compare the results yielded by
their various investment decisions. To do this, they must have reporting tools that provide
quantified insight into recruiting activity across all channels. They should “pilot” multiple
approaches, so they can compare the effectiveness of these approaches before making large
investments. They also must make changes and reallocate resources based on the results to
These capabilities will significantly differentiate the effectiveness with which post-secondary
institutions compete for prospective students in the coming years. Of course, not every
institution will achieve excellence in every one of these abilities overnight. But institutions
will not succeed if they allow a substantial deficit to go unchecked in any of these areas.
And excellence in at least two or three is an absolute requirement for maintaining
competitiveness in a market of declining numbers and increasing internet-centricity.
CRM’S ROLE IN RECRUITING SUCCESS
For colleges and universities to gain critical recruiting capabilities, they must develop a
strategy for success in line with their mission and then acquire and effectively deploy the
appropriate technology to execute that strategy. Once a strategy is developed, only with the
right technology can they manage and distribute information wherever and whenever it’s
needed—whether a prospective student is asking a question about an admissions policy or a
recruiting manager is letting all prospective biology majors know about a big, new research
CRM technology is especially applicable to student recruiting. With the right CRM
solution, institutions can readily acquire all of the capabilities outlined in the previous
section. They can also minimize the costs associated with acquiring and exercising those
capabilities. And once the student is enrolled, their interaction history can remain with
them across the student lifecycle.
Institutions need a single contact record so that they can track each prospective student’s
individual process through the full recruiting cycle. With the right CRM solution you can
see any and all interactions in a single contact record, from any channel, no matter which
department is speaking with them. You’ll improve constituent satisfaction and increase
operational efficiency across all channels—helping you better meet your recruiting goals.
With the right CRM solution you can continue to manage important data and
interactions—from enrollment to alumni—in a single, integrated record. With robust
integration your on demand CRM software can be integrated with numerous other
systems—including student information systems, learning management systems, document
imaging, and student portals.
CRM functionality of particular value for institutions engaged in competitive recruiting
360 Degree View of Constituent—From First Contact Through Post-Graduation
CASE IN POINT
Minnesota Online Optimizes Student Experience from First Inquiry
Through Course Completion
The online education market is booming. Analysts estimate that it will grow to
$52.6 billion by 2010. So it’s essential for online providers to make the most
of every lead and to differentiate themselves from the growing competition.
Minnesota Online also has to manage information about a diverse range of
educational programs—and make that information readily available to whoever
needs it, whenever they need it. This is a significant challenge when you consider
that the programs Minnesota Online offers are actually run by 32 independent
institutions located across the state.
Minnesota Online has made RightNow a key component of its strategy for both
growth and differentiation. Minnesota Online can track prospect and student
progress and issues at every stage of their lifecycle in order to quickly and effectively
respond to their changing needs. The result is that Minnesota Online is well-
positioned to maintain its leadership in the online education market—and to do so
One way Minnesota Online uses the database is to track the status of contacts as
they go from merely expressing interest to actually applying to a Minnesota State
College or University and registering for a specific program. This process can be
somewhat complex, since students need to submit the necessary transcripts and
test results. Minnesota Online makes it easy for its advisors to keep an eye on this
process and send alerts to students via RightNow’s automated customer services
when they need to get something done. They also automatically send out a wide
range of notices and reminders based on any definable set of conditions—such as
when a deadline is approaching, a new course offering becomes available in the
student’s area of interest, or a certain amount of time elapses since the last contact
with a prospect.
In addition to keeping track of students, Minnesota Online also has to manage
information about a diverse range of educational programs. Information about
courses and programs from all participating institutions is incorporated into
Minnesota Online’s knowledge foundation, where it can be easily updated and
modified as required. More importantly, it can be readily accessed by both advisors
and students via a variety of intuitive and accurate methods—including topical
browsing, keyword search, and a “Top 20” list of the most currently popular
Campaign and List Management
Recruiting teams need to be continuously proactive with prospects, applicants, and accepted
candidates. Communications with these various groups must be segmented (meaning
that information should only be delivered to those for whom it is relevant), personalized
(meaning that messages should include the prospect’s name, declared major, or any other
data field that will prevent the recipient from feeling like just an entry in a database) and in
context (meaning that it should, as required, make reference to the conditions under which
it was initiated—such as the receipt of an application or the offer of a scholarship). A good
CRM system will generate dynamic lists based on selection criteria rather than pull a list
once and use it repeatedly.
To communicate this way, institutions need a CRM solution that provides:
· Flexible list management. To effectively segment message recipients, recruiters must
be able to “slice and dice” databases according to any attribute or set of attributes. They
must also be able to “merge and purge” multiple lists in order to optimally leverage all
· Opt-in/opt-out controls. To ensure compliance with regulatory mandates,
institutions must scrupulously enforce opt-in and opt-out requests. In fact, CAN-
SPAM standards require that an opt-out link be provided in every message. A good
CRM solution should be capable of automatically making the appropriate change in
an institution’s list management system whenever a message recipient clicks on that
· Collaborative content development. Before you send anything out to prospective
students, recruiters will want to make sure it is reviewed by the right people
internally—which may include academic program managers and legal staff. That
review process can become unwieldy without the right collaborative tools.
· Message testing and analysis. Before doing large-scale mailings, it’s wise to send test
messages to sample groups to determine which wording, layout, color, graphics, and
timing work best. An effective CRM solution will facilitate this testing by making it
easy to experiment with different message parameters and measure their impact on
· Delivery management. In today’s spam-sensitive world, it’s essential to comply
with industry email standards (such as CAN-SPAM) and to work closely with large
domains (such as AOL and Yahoo) to avoid having messages blocked or winding
up on server blacklists. Institutions that can’t or don’t want to develop this kind of
specialized expertise in-house will want to work with a CRM vendor that can help
them avoid such delivery problems.
CASE IN POINT
Victoria University Uses RightNow To More Effectively Draw Students
From Around The World
Like most institutions of higher learning, Victoria University of Wellington has a
variety of marketing objectives. First and foremost, the University must continue
to convert prospects into enrollees despite ever-increasing competition for
The University’s conversation with prospective students from overseas typically
begins electronically, since the phone may be impractical because of cost or time-
zone differences. In many cases, a prospect’s first contact takes place via the web
when he or she looks for answers in the University’s RightNow-powered self-service
knowledge base. At this point, the prospect typically “opts in” to the University’s
Once a prospective student is entered into the University’s database, every
interaction with that individual is tracked. This allows the University to deliver
highly targeted information to each and every prospective student as appropriate.
For example, a prospective undergraduate engineering student from India making
an initial inquiry receives very different information from a prospective post-
graduate business student from Denmark.
In fact, RightNow gives the University complete flexibility to mix-and-match
content to create highly individualized messages that touch on each prospective
student’s likely concerns. A message may combine information about curriculum,
housing, and financial aid if the database indicates that those issues could all
impact the prospective student’s decision.
The system also enables the University to “trigger” messages based on any
number of conditions. It can broadcast a message to all prospective law students
simultaneously, or send customized reminders to students whose applications are
late with specific information about their chosen program of study and/or the
particular decision factors they have already expressed concern about.
“Our biggest objective in emarketing isn’t to send out a lot of messages. It’s to
send out the best possible message at the best possible time to everyone who is
considering coming here,” says Charles Brooks, the University’s international
A Collaborative, Easy-to-Manage Knowledge Base
The information that prospective students need from institutions is typically dispersed
across multiple independent departments: admissions, financial aid, academic departments,
housing, student life, etc. This information is also always changing. To ensure that
prospective students always get the answers they need regardless of which communication
channel they use to get it, institutions need a shared knowledge base that is easy to build,
easy to maintain, and easy to access.
Such a knowledge base must be designed to facilitate rapid creation of content by all
authorized contributors. It must make it easy to dynamically update and edit content as
conditions change. It should be usable across all communication channels. It should also
help constituents find the piece of information they need right away. This can be achieved
by leveraging current artificial intelligence techniques, which enable knowledge bases
to automatically “learn” from user behaviors—so they rapidly get better and better at
presenting users with the specific answer they need the first time.
CASE IN POINT
Imperial College London Improves Admissions Management
Imperial College London’s self-learning knowledge base gives prospective students
immediate answers to questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Imperial College
London is a world-leading, science-based university whose reputation for excellence
in teaching and research attracts students and staff of the highest international
quality. Due to the college’s leading reputation it receives a substantial volume of
prospective student inquiries via email and telephone. A high proportion of these
are repetitive inquires in relation to the admissions process and course details.
Responding to simple inquiries was impacting the admissions team’s productivity
and response times.
When a prospective student enters Imperial’s website they can click on the
“prospective student” link. Within this area they can view over 100 commonly
asked questions and their answers which are powered by RightNow. If the student
is unable to find the answer to their question, RightNow provides a simple method
for them to escalate their inquiry by email via the Ask a Question facility. Before
this email is submitted, RightNow performs a further search of the knowledge
base and typically stops 28% of emails being submitted by offering other relevant
answers. If this still does not answer the students question the email will be
escalated to an advisor who can respond to the student directly. If deemed relevant,
the advisor proposes the response for addition to the knowledge base to ensure this
same question is not escalated again.
Due to the reduction in time spent on requests for repetitive information,
RightNow drives a fast return on investment. The Imperial College London
knowledge base has a 98% self-service rate for prospective students—reducing
phone and email workloads. This has provided prospective students with immediate
answers to their questions, the admissions team with more time to deal with specific
queries ensuring a more time, and cost-effective inquiry management system.
Highly Intuitive and Effective Web Self-Service
Today’s prospective students live on the web. So do many others involved with a prospect’s
decision-making process. It is essential to use the web effectively to provide information to
prospective students, parents, guidance counselors, and even an institution’s own employees.
Key attributes of web-based access should be:
· The “Top” answer list. A large percentage of site visitors will be looking for the same
few pieces of information. So this information should be presented on a Top Answers
list that appears on the main page for prospects. This information changes over time
as certain deadlines approach or as a result of some event on campus. An effective
CRM system will ideally “learn” from user searches in order to automatically replace
items in the Top Answers list as appropriate. That way, institution staff won’t have to
guess (possibly incorrectly) about what information belongs on the list.
· Fast, user-friendly search. Of course, prospects will need plenty of information
that’s not on the “Top Answers” list. So an effective CRM system will offer a highly
intuitive search interface that includes keyword search, plain-language querying,
and topic browsing. It’s important to note that site visitors don’t always think about
information according to the same categories as education professionals. So an
effective self-service system will “learn” over time about the associations site visitors
make between various types of information—and structure itself accordingly.
· Email pre-emption. Email often becomes a communication bottleneck. This
can happen because many schools don’t have enough people to answer emails. In
addition, site visitors often choose to send an email instead of checking available
self-service content because they have had bad experiences with other institutions’
websites. To mitigate this potential problem, a good CRM system will automatically
scan incoming emails, determine if any keywords in those emails are associated with
existing knowledge base content, and present that content to the prospective emailer.
This functionality substantially reduces email volume and increases the number of
site visitors who get the information they need immediately.
· Proactive chat and co-browse. Based on pre-defined actions or profile, a chat
invitation is automatically presented to proactively engage a prospect. You can
walk them through your site via co-browse and immediately present them with the
information they were seeking.
CASE IN POINT
University of Houston: “Ask Shasta” System Generates 1120% ROI with
The University of Houston faced a classic business challenge. The state continued
to cut the UH’s budget by 5-10 percent annually. Yet, at the same time, UH had
to successfully capture and retain students in the increasingly competitive higher
education market. It became essential for UH to improve the quality of student
services while also reducing costs.
And that’s just what it accomplished with its online self-service system—dubbed
“Ask Shasta” after the name of UH’s cougar mascot. In fact, the system is saving
UH around $1 million annually by substantially reducing its phone and email
workloads. That savings—which the university calculates based on the tremendous
number of questions the system answers automatically via the web—doesn’t
include the more difficult-to-quantify financial benefits that result from providing
students and staff with faster, better service. But it does add up to an impressive
return of around 1,120 percent every year on the investment UH made in the
necessary enabling technologies.
The system also allows each functional area of the university to manage its own
content and its own individual area of the UH website. And it allows experts in
those functional areas to focus on their primary work responsibilities—instead of
spending time giving the same answers over and over to UH’s frontline staff.
Customizable Workflow Automation and Reporting
To ensure they respond to every prospective student’s needs in a timely and appropriate
manner, institutions need customizable, well-automated workflow management. A good
CRM system will provide workflow management that readily applies to all of a recruiting
team’s various processes. These processes may include everything from the handling of a
simple email information request to the support of a foreign student’s visa application. Such
workflow tools will help ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner and that issues
are escalated as necessary to team managers.
By using CRM workflow tools to manage everyday processes, institutions can also track and
assess those processes. This allows them to measure improvements and detect problematic
trends. For example, recruiting managers can see which staff members respond to emails
quickly and which ones are slower. Such reports may highlight the need for additional
training or routing-by-topic.
Institutions taking advantage of social networking sites can run into difficulties if they
have to manage information separately on each of these sites. For one thing, managing
information separately creates a lot of extra work. For another, it creates the possibility
that the information will become inconsistent, inaccurate, and confusing. That’s why
these recruiting teams can benefit significantly from a CRM solution that offers content
syndication. With content syndication, information that is added, deleted, or modified in
the main knowledge repository gets automatically replicated on any other website according
to pre-defined business rules. This eliminates work and ensures the consistency of all
information everywhere on the web.
When communicating with prospective students institutions need to capture feedback
at the “moment of truth.” This is done by sending short surveys immediately after an
interaction with a prospective student—after an email, phone, call, campus visit, and at
other interaction points. By gathering real-time feedback you can continually improve your
recruiting processes, helping you deliver more targeted information to prospective students.
CRM functionality can be useful to recruiters in many other ways as well. Survey or
feedback tools can be quite useful for inexpensively gathering highly valuable market
research. Voice automation capabilities that can greatly reduce workloads on frontline
admissions staff. The list above, however, highlights the core functionality that is currently
proving to be especially useful for institutions such as those profiled here.
It is important to note that acquisition of CRM technology does not have to be inordinately
expensive or inordinately burdensome to an institution’s IT organization. Software-as-a-
service (SaaS) solutions empower institutions to acquire the CRM functionality they need
without having to build and maintain costly, complex IT infrastructure. The SaaS model
also allows institutions to acquire CRM functionality in a staged, modular manner—rather
than forcing them to make massive software purchases or completely re-engineer every
department all at once.
OPTIMIZED OUTCOMES FOR SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS
In these challenging times, colleges and universities have to balance many different
institutional priorities. They need to create curricula that are well-aligned with marketplace
demand. They need to maintain and enhance their physical facilities to provide a
compelling campus experience. They need to attract and retain great faculty and staff. They
need to better leverage technology to deliver superior educational services to students on
demand. They need to build and nurture relationships with local communities, government
agencies, and private-sector partners.
None of this can happen if an institution doesn’t maintain and grow its enrollment. It is
essential for all institutions to make wise investments in student recruiting. Investment in
the right CRM technology and best practices can have a particularly positive impact on the
overall performance and health of an institution by delivering the following benefits:
Higher Enrollment Rates
Selective, cost-anxious students and their families require more information and assurance
than ever as they decide where to spend their money. Institutions that provide this
information and assurance will be significantly more attractive to prospective students—
and will achieve higher enrollment rates, even as competition intensifies. This means more
tuition dollars to invest in every other aspect of the institution.
More Effective Recruiting of Targeted Demographics
Colleges and universities don’t just need to fill seats. They need to fill seats with students
with the right level of academic aptitude and appropriate diversity. They need to populate
their various programs based on capacity and program priorities. Effective CRM
implementations help them achieve these goals by optimizing the overall attractiveness of
the institution to the prospect pool as a whole, and facilitating recruiting activities that
target specific desired demographics.
Substantially Reduced Costs
CRM technology produces cost savings in many ways, even as they improve the
effectiveness of recruiting activities. It eliminates the need for repetitive phone calls and
emails. It reduces the need to produce and send as much printed literature. It streamlines
management of web content. It eliminates the waste associated with poor targeting of
promotional communications. It also allows institutions to increase the scale of their
recruiting activities without commensurate increases in budget. These savings can be used to
enhance recruiting programs—or passed along to other institutional activities desperately in
need of additional funding.
Stronger Institutional Brand
The ability of an institution to communicate effectively with prospective students doesn’t
just affect the decisions those students make. They also affect how the institution itself
is more broadly perceived. Effective CRM implementations help build the overall brand
of the institution—which can impact everything from how the institution is reviewed in
comparative publications, to the level of long-term engagement alumni maintain after
Better Resource Allocation and Decision-Making
In addition to controlling recruiting costs and optimizing recruiting efficacy, institutions
need to allocate recruiting resources as intelligently as possible. This allocation can’t be static
either, but should be continually modified as required by changing results and conditions.
CRM enables this kind of decision-making by providing recruiting program managers with
continuous visibility into which programs, content, and communication channels yield
good results—and which need to be modified or abandoned.
Extended Geographic/Global Reach
Many colleges and universities are looking to extend the geographic reach of their recruiting
activities as prospective students demonstrate a greater willingness to travel further—even
internationally—to obtain the best possible education and as electronic courseware delivery
enables them to serve students across the internet. CRM technology complements these
strategies by empowering recruiters to target prospective students anywhere in the world via
email, the web, and other online communication channels.
The bottom line is that CRM can do more than just improve recruiting performance. It
can significantly alter the economics of student acquisition and retention—and have a
substantial impact on the performance of the institution as a whole in terms of financial
health and fulfillment of educational mission. All colleges and universities hoping to
survive and thrive in a dynamic and increasingly digital global marketplace should strongly
consider investing in the kind of CRM technology and best practices that automate, unify,
streamline, and enhance core recruiting processes.
RightNow (NASDAQ: RNOW) delivers the high-impact technology solutions and services
organizations need to cost-efficiently deliver a consistently superior customer experience
across their frontline service touchpoints. Approximately 1,900 corporations, government
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